If a man wants to make a fool of himself he will always find plenty of help. I learned this the hard way in college. One weekend we were snowed in and decided to make our own sleds out of cafeteria trays. Picture this: seven young men taking a break from pursuing higher education to pursue foolish ambitions of achieving the “most air” off the front of the library steps on a two foot cafeteria tray. Needless to say, the cafeteria trays won. Thirty minutes later and seven teeth lighter, we quickly realized what fools we had been. The only good thing I can say about that incident was thank the Lord for emergency dentistry and that it wasn’t my teeth.
The word “fool” usually refers to a person who acts unintelligently and irresponsibly. Know anyone like that? Instead of calling names and pointing fingers, it’s better to concentrate on keeping ourselves from being foolish. Scripture defines a fool as a person who says “in his heart, ‘There is no God’” and who is morally bankrupt, performing “abominable acts” (Psalm 14:1). A fool lives apart from God by denying God with their actions and words. A real fool lives anti-God in their thinking and daily activities.
Ephesians 5:15-17 shows us the opposite of a fool: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” The exact opposite of a foolish person is a wise person. On our own, we claim to be wise but are really foolish. Romans 1:21-22 explains it this way, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. They professed to be wise but became fools.” Apart from God, we think foolishness is wisdom and wisdom is foolishness!
Fools mock at sin (Proverbs 14:9), reinvent God (Romans 1:21-22), follow their own false wisdom (Proverbs 12:15), talk foolishly (Proverbs 15:2), gain knowledge but lack in wisdom (2 Timothy 3:7), and even die for lack of understanding (Proverbs 10:21). A fool can be highly educated or lack education. I have witnessed many foolish people who held numerous educational degrees.
So how do you keep from being the fool you despise in others? A wise man learns by the experience of others. An ordinary man learns by his own experience. A fool learns by nobody's experience. Wisdom begins with the fear (which is humble devotion, love, learning, and service) of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). The way of God is the way to wisdom. When you turn from yourself you turn from foolishness. Thus, turning to God is turning to wisdom. 2 Timothy 3:15 says God is, “able to give [us] the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” There is no wisdom apart from Christ.
Living a devoted life in Christ will not just keep you from making dumb momentary mistakes but show you the will of God for your entire life. If you need help fleeing foolishness, ask God. James 1:5 reveals, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.”